Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has expressed his desire to stay at the club next season, even with usual number one Thibaut Courtois expected to reclaim his starting place.
Courtois was ruled out of action for the rest of the season in August after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Madrid dipped into the market to secure extra cover in the form of Kepa Arrizabalaga, although existing understudy Lunin appears to have won the battle for the gloves.
“I understood perfectly that they signed another goalkeeper,” he told El Chiringuito.
On the subject of an uncertain future, having proven that he does have the ability to be a starting goalkeeper at a high level, the Ukrainian added: “I don’t even know, I would like to stay.”
Lunin will turn 25 in just a matter of days. But having started nine of Madrid’s last 11 La Liga games, this is his first proper run of appearances since joining the club as a teenager back in 2018. Indeed, he hadn’t been a top flight starter for five years since turning out for Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk.
After loans at Leganes, Real Valladolid and Real Oviedo, Lunin has been Courtois’ chief back-up in the first-team squad at the Bernabeu since the start of the 2020/21 campaign. When the Belgian got injured and Kepa was brought in on loan, it appeared he would simply remain as number two.
That initially was the case, with Kepa getting the nod from Carlo Ancelotti. But a small injury to the Spanish stopper handed Lunin a chance in early November and he hasn’t really relinquished it. Kepa did return to the team for alternate La Liga games against Alaves and Almeria either side of Christmas, as well as the Copa del Rey third round and Supercopa de Espana semi-final.
Yet Lunin started the Copa del Rey derby against Atletico Madrid, the Supercopa final and appears now to be the consistent first choice for Ancelotti in La Liga, even with Kepa available once more.
Lunin’s contract with Madrid runs until the end of next season, but staying will likely see him go back to the bench, while Kepa is expected to return to parent club Chelsea.